Five Common Mistakes When Trying to Lose Weight

14 07 2010

Don’t sabotage yourself by making these weight loss blunders.  Read on to find out more about mistakes I often see clients make, and how to avoid them.

Skipping breakfast to save calories.

Research has shown that people who skip breakfast tend to eat more later in the day, cancelling out whatever calories they saved at breakfast.  Also, going long periods of time without eating can affect how your body handles the food you eat.  Those who eat more later in the day tend to store more body fat and have less muscle.

Not eating enough protein.

Eating protein throughout the day will help you maintain muscle as you lose weight.  Your goal should be fat loss, not just weight loss.  Protein also makes you feel full longer.  Simple protein foods to include are meat, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, nuts, or beans.

Eliminating entire categories of food (like carbohydrates).

Too many people believe they can’t eat carbohydrates.  The problem with this mindset is if you eliminate carbs then you don’t have enough energy to train optimally.  Exercising at a higher level will allow you to burn the necessary calories for fat loss.  The harder you train, the more carbohydrates you actually need.  High quality carbohydrate foods are fruits, whole grain breads, high-fiber cereals, & sweet potatoes.

Not paying attention to liquid calories.

As you are trying to lose fat, your hydration should mostly come from water.  Sports drinks are only intended to be consumed around workouts.  They should not be consumed all day long.  Juice is also very high in calories.  By avoiding these outside of exercise, you save yourself unnecessary calories.  In addition to these, alcoholic beverages add up quickly and can prevent your progress toward your fat loss goal.  Besides the extra calories, alcohol hurts weight loss in other manners.  It stimulates appetite and you mostly likely won’t choose healthy food when you are drinking.  Lastly, alcohol has a negative impact on your sleep and hydration, which in turn will make it more difficult for you to lose weight.

Trying to lose weight In-Season.

If you wait until the season starts to try to lose weight, you may be jeopardizing your performance.  By eating fewer calories than you burn, you may have less energy than necessary for workouts.  Therefore, it is best to plan ahead and make the necessary changes in the offseason.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.

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Common Mistake #5: Inadequate fluid intake

9 06 2010

Water is the largest single component of the body.  Approximately 75% of muscle is made up of water.  Besides oxygen, it is the most important nutrient in our bodies.  Water plays an important role in nearly every major bodily function: it aids in digestion and absorption, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, regulates body temperature, removes waste, cushions joints and protects organs and tissues.

Water is the most important supplement we have:  USE IT!

Hydration is overlooked by most athletes, with more than 50% living in a state of dehydration.  Try not to wait until you are thirsty.  By this time, you have already lost ~1% of your body weight.  Losing as little as 1% body weight can impair performance and make it difficult for your body to cope with exercise and warm weather.  A loss of 2-4% of your body weight causes a 20% decrease in strength and a 40% decrease in aerobic capacity.

Dehydration can be prevented!  Drinking the proper amount of fluid before, during, and after exercise will keep you well hydrated.

Tips for Proper Hydration:

  • Pre-Hydrate – Drink 16–20oz of water 2–3 hours before practice/competition.  Drink 8oz of water or Gatorade 10–20 minutes before practice/competition.
  • Hydrate – Drink water or Gatorade during practice/competition, not waiting until you feel thirsty.  One simple strategy is to drink 4-8 oz during every break.  On gulp is approximately an ounce.
  • Re-Hydrate – Drink 20–24oz of water or Gatorade for every pound of weight lost.

Plan ahead and carry a water bottle with you.  To calculate approximately how much water you need daily, divide your weight in half.  This is the minimum amount of fluid in ounces you should strive to drink daily.  Alcoholic beverages do not count.  In fact, you need to drink additional water for every alcoholic beverage you have.  The more you sweat, the more you need to drink in addition to this amount.  Also, remember that muscle is 75% water.  So, if you are trying to gain muscle, you need to drink additional water to aid in building that new muscle.

Bottom Line: Carry a water bottle with you and drink often throughout the day.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.